An Organisation’s mandate is usually for two years, so an artist may decide to terminate their contract with one and give the mandate to another organisation afterward if that becomes a better choice for them. Most countries have only one PRO for the administration of the public performance of their musical works. For other rights, we refer to either a CMO like Soproq in Quebec or an MRO like The MLC in the United States.
In Brazil and the United States, there is more than one PRO. This is particular to these territories. As for the representation of mechanical reproduction rights, in Canada, songwriters are represented by a separate society, either SOCAN DR or CMRRA. In France and Germany, the PROs, i.e. SACEM and GEMA also handle the mechanical or reproduction rights. This means that an artist only has to join one organisation in order to have their two rights administered. This could influence the choice of an artist in their choice of representation in order to reduce the administrative operations related to the management of their copyrights.
As an independent and emerging artist, there is a lot of knowledge to be gained in order to understand the workings of the music industry. So to begin, it is important to know that the music industry is part of the cultural sector. The cultural sector is administered by the Ministry of Culture and Communications in the province of Quebec and receives funding from the Ministry of Heritage at the federal level. When reading the “About” section of the rights and collective organisations, most of them mention non-profit organisations (NPO). Why is this so?
“An NPO is a legal entity, which possesses a patrimony distinct from the persons who constitute it, whose intention is not to make pecuniary gains to be shared among its members, but rather to invest in order to achieve its goals, in various fields such as the arts” (YULEX). In order to finance their altruistic activities, NPOs use grants issued by the government, i.e. public funds. These organisations have boards of directors with members who are committed to the mission of the NPO and who are experts in the artistic content or approach.
It is a business model that requires great transparency and the involvement of its members. Governance is different and decision-making and budgets are approved by the board of directors. Budget envelopes are planned strategically and with specific guidelines. The cultural sector in Quebec and Canada is therefore developing in harmony and with the support of the government.
With this approach, organisations and associations invest in the interests of their members. For example, they offer training to support their members in their professional and artistic development. They also develop partnerships with other organisations to offer services that benefit their members. It is the mission of each organisation to develop the talent of its members. For an artist, this type of business model means that when they have particular needs for their artistic or professional development, they can get the support they are looking for from the organisations and associations. This model works best when members are active and participate in training and education activities. Through this network, many are able to make professional connections that allow them to advance in their careers.
Here’s a summary of the different music right societies and professional associations in Canada: